Matthew 25:13 – Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (KJV)
When I was barely old enough to know how to add and subtract, I remember very deliberately calculating that I would be 55 years old when the year 2000 came. It turns out that many other people I've mentioned this to made exactly the same kind of calculation. And now, the date is right around the corner. Last weekend, many people were making a related calculation, as it was the optimum time to conceive the millennium baby!
One of the factors of the Y2K crisis is that many people calculate that our world is coming to crunch time, and the year 2000 may be end of the world. Matthew 24 and 25 are chapters that give Jesus' teaching on that subject. He tells about ten virgins who go out with lamps lit, expecting to meet the Bridegroom (Christ when he returns). At midnight, they discover that their lamps are almost out of oil. Five of them were ready with more oil, and five were unprepared, and miss the Bridegroom's coming. We can be instructed in two things by this parable.
First, having that extra oil speaks to us about being physically ready for what may happen at the turnover of the year. Our electrical service can be disrupted at any time, and emergency preparedness teams encourage people to have 72 hours' worth of supplies on hand at all times, in case of tornadoes, earthquakes, and ice storms, like the one in eastern Canada for two weeks last year. But it is amazing how resilient and ingenious God has made us human beings. We can adapt to and weather almost any emergency together.
Second, having that extra oil speaks to us about being spiritually ready for Christ's return. In the Bible, oil is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit. We believe in Jesus' immanent return, in that He could come at any time, although He may not come for a long time. Do we have an intimate personal relationship with Jesus, through receiving His Spirit? Are we living obedient lives as His disciples? If He came this minute, would we be ready?
Prayer: Lord, help us to live, each moment, ready to give an account to You. Lead us, we pray, into the depths of the closest possible relationship with You, one that will go on forever, one that not even death can interrupt. We commit ourselves, with trust, into Your hands. In Jesus' name. Amen.